Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not for the squeamish!

At exactly the same time that my husband was limping around waiting for a knee replacement operation earlier this year, I was serendipitously commissioned to illustrate a book called “Nourishing Broth” by Sally Fallon Morell, “the definitive cookbook that can help you treat symptoms of autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, digestive problems and other chronic ailments”.

It made fascinating reading and was definitely a first for me as far as painting gristle is concerned!

“Most people know cartilage as gristle. It’s the blob on the bone of a T-bone steak, the globs on chicken drumsticks”. 

I learnt all about boiling up bones for minerals, which in turn keep our own bones strong, marrow, which is important for stem cell regeneration and gelatin which is obtained from boiling up skin, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. (Hmm, not your average cookbook ingredients, but worth reading on I assure you).  
I now understand that gelatin provides amino acids that the body needs to make connective tissue, i.e. all the bits that hold the body together. Perfect for an arthritic knee! 

At the risk of sounding like a school text book I even got to draw pretty pictures of glycoproteins and connective tissues.

This is all very pertinent, as the pigs are booked to go to the abattoir on Thursday and I’m busy making important decisions as to how I’d like them butchered and do I want the trotters and heads? 
Well, if only for the sake of a post operative knee I think I should boil up anything and everything!

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Earth laughs in flowers" Ralph Waldo Emerson

In which case, I imagine these sunflowers would be a resounding guffaw, enough to cheer any grey Friday!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Happy as a pig in muck"

I don't know who was more content at the weekend. 

Me, weeding the veg patch; pulling up spent cabbage stalks, slaying thistles, dismantling bean poles and picking apples. 

Or the pigs, who got to scoff the tasty leftovers. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Summery Summary

October is a see-saw month, decay and germination going hand in hand. 

Apart from the courgettes, resolutely producing tiny new fruits, summer crops are coming to an exausted end. 
(I am not cross with the courgettes. I know they are an emotive subject but I have honestly enjoyed sneaking them into all my sauces and curries over the summer!)

Contrary to the desire to slacken the pace though, there’s garlic, shallots, beans and winter salads to be sown, at the very least. 
If I dare to sit down for a few minutes and glance at the gardening section of the weekend papers my 'TO DO' list puts on new growth accordingly.

So, sneakily just before the weekend, here’s a snapshot of some of that lovely summer produce. 

And tomorrow I’ll tackle that list!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dragonfly tea

A few months ago I worked on a new packaging project for Dragonfly tea.

See if you can catch glimpse of iridescent wings hovering in the tea aisle during your weekly shop!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The New Term

A week ago I took my daughter to Uni. 
She’s studying Illustration in sunny Brighton. 
She is sharing a house with six first year art students. 
The upheaval has temporarily taken its toll on my sanity.

Why was I sanding down an old chest of drawers for her the day before departure? 
And why hadn’t her washing been done sooner?

I can still only manage short sentences.
But it has been a learning curve, so here are my tips on what to take and what not to leave behind.

Succulents and potted herbs are fundamental, don’t argue.

Clothes pegs have many uses and have assisted mankind for over 150 years. Don’t let any student tell you they’ve been superceeded by an App.

Empty nutella jars will be very handy for keeping leftovers in the shared fridge. And a house full of art students should have some fancy pens between them for labelling the little snap on lids. 

Don’t worry about seeming to be eccentric... sneak in a tray of home-grown apples, courgettes, carrots, garlic, onions, home-made jam, chutney, fragrant plum sauce and crabapple and chilli jelly. It WILL be appreciated because it’s FREE.

Check the clothes dryer before you set off. 
(Today in a gesture of unconditional love, I have searched for, found, packed up and posted underwear!)

Break your journey at IKEA. It is integral to the rite of passage... even if you only buy another plant, over door hooks and a toilet brush.

If you can, also stop off at the grandparents en route. They will love being involved in this exciting stage of their granddaughter’s life. It also means you can borrow a duvet when your daughter’s own is inexplicably still lying on her bed at home.

And finally, when you arrive at the house, be prepared to do the lion’s share of carrying boxes and A1 portfolios up to the top floor. After all your daughter will need time to get her succulents arranged on the shabby chic chest of drawers!